Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Let There Be Light!

Darkness is hitting me particularly hard this fall. It doesn't help that we've reduced the lighting in the office to save money. The low-wattage CFL bulbs at home leave everything slightly dim as well. It wasn't as bad when I spent a lot of time outside in Summer, but it's fast approaching the days when I both arrive at and leave work in darkness. You southern climate folks have no idea what it does to your brain and body to only experience a few weak hours of sun each day (if any), with nothing but dim fluorescent bulbs in between.

So I decided to compromise my frugality and environmentalism for the sake of having enough energy to function. I can't afford a $300 SAD lightbox, but I can (luckily) afford $30 in high-wattage daylight spectrum bulbs. JD helped me rig up a couple of freecycle table lamps on a timer with 300 watt incandescent daylight bulbs so that at 6:30 in the morning it looks like the sun has risen in the bedroom. The bulbs go off on the timer at 7:30 when I leave for work. I put 100 Watt incandescent daylights in the bathroom as well, and will head to the Habitat Re-Store today in search of floor lamps to brighten the living room.

I'm probably still not getting the full 10,000 lux of full daylight, even if I'm managing 10,000 lumen with the bedroom lights. I'm also, before someone brings it up, starting a vitamin D regimen and trying to be outdoors on my lunch hour.

I still feel guilty over giving up the energy savings of CFL's, but I can always swap them out during the summer when I can open windows for more ambient light. Until then, I think I just have to compromise ideals for functionality.


Rachel said...

Do you take vitamin D supplements? They're fairly cheap and also effective.

mitch1066 said...

wow thank you!!Im clapping!I hate the new bulbs ,they definatly do not give as much light but now they have banned the sale of the old type bulbs we're stuck with them.According to the dr my vit D level is fine but i definatly have SAD.

intransigentia said...

If you look around, you may be able to find full-spectrum/daylight CFLs. If not at the hardware store, then try somewhere that sells aquarium, greenhouse, or hydroponics supplies.

Good luck from a fellow SAD northerner.

TanteTerri said...

SAD sucks. It may be hereditary because I suffer from it as well, even in So. Cal. - twice a year fall and spring - seems to be more the change that puts me off kilter, rather than the lack of sunlight itself.

Anyhow, definitely the full spectrum bulbs should help. I simply put a full spectrum next to my "spot" on the sofa, using it for reading, stitching, whatever, and it was a big help.

The money is too bad, but you have to take care of yourself; or what is the point of having money?

I heard the greatest comment on the radio last night - the guy who helped establish public healthcare in Mexico was speaking - scars from bad economic times are temporary, scars from bad healthcare are permanent. Economic times turn around, but if you lose a loved one because of lack of healthcare - how do you turn that around?

JD said...

I don't see how this is compromising your ideals. You're using brighter lights to improve your health; that's using electricity responsibly, not wasting it.